Brad Pitt Was Turned Down for a Role in ‘Cry-Baby’ for a Reason Beyond His Control

Brad Pitt is one of the most well-known and sought after actors in Hollywood. After appearing in the 1991 film Thelma and Louise, Pitt made a name for himself in the film industry, starring in blockbusters such as Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. While it seems like Pitt has never had trouble landing an acting role, it turns out that he wasn’t so lucky back in the day.

Before he achieved ultimate stardom, a few directors passed up the opportunity to cast Pitt in their films. One being Cry-Baby director John Waters, who turned the young actor away from the cult classic for a reason that was far beyond his control.

Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

What is ‘Cry-Baby’ about?

Set in 1950s Baltimore, Cry-Baby is centered around two rival groups of teens — the delinquent “drapes” and the clean-cut “squares” — and their interactions with the town as well as its subculture.

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The film stars Johnny Depp as Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker, the leader of the “drapes” who falls in love with goody-two-shoes square Allison Vernon-Williams (played by actor Amy Locane).

Though she grew up being a square, Allison wanted to break her prim and proper mold. So, she goes against her grandmother’s wishes and starts dating Cry-Baby, which creates upheaval and turmoil in their small town.

The movie was written and directed by John Waters and was released in theaters in April 1990. Though the musical satire did poorly at the box office, it has since become a cult classic. The film even spawned a Broadway musical that became a Tony winner in 2008.

Brad Pitt was too good looking for ‘Cry-Baby’

Cry-Baby may be a cult classic, but it’s also a film that jumpstarted many of its cast members’ careers in the entertainment industry.

In addition to Depp, who went on to become one of the most well-known actors in Hollywood, the film also kicked off the career of actor Ricki Lake, who became the youngest talk show host in syndicated TV history following her appearance in the musical romantic comedy.

But despite Waters casting rising stars in the film, there was one up-and-coming actor he passed up the chance to work with — and it was none other than Hollywood heartthrob, Brad Pitt.

According to the Daily Mail, Pitt had auditioned for the role of Milton Hackett (Cry-Baby Walker’s sidekick) in the 1990 movie but lost out to Darren E. Burrows.

Since Pitt was “completely unknown at the time,” Waters had turned him down. However, that wasn’t the only reason the director didn’t give the young actor the part.

In his 2019 memoir Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, Waters admits he didn’t cast Pitt because he was just too good looking for the role.

“I may be the only director who turned down Brad Pitt in a casting session,” Waters writes, per Hollywood.com. “Completely unknown at the time, he came into read for the role of Milton in Cry-Baby. We all knew somebody this handsome couldn’t be cast as Johnny Depp’s goofy sidekick – we needed a guy with a quirkier look.”

But despite turning a young Pitt away, Waters knew the actor was destined to become a huge star.

He continued, “When Brad walked out of the audition room without being cast, everyone agreed, ‘Whoever that was, he’s going to be a huge movie star.'”

And a big star is precisely what Pitt ended up becoming following his Cry-Baby audition.

Brad Pitt’s career took off a year after ‘Cry-Baby’ was released

After Waters turned him down, Pitt audition for another cult classic film, which he ended landing a role in.

A year after Cry-Baby was released, Pitt appeared in the 1991 movie Thelma & Louise as an attractive young drifter named J.D. The film gained the actor worldwide recognition, and he has been a leading man ever since.

After Thelma and Louise, Pitt landed a role in the big-budget production film A River Runs Through It (1992). He then gave critically acclaimed performances in the crime thriller Seven (1995) and the science fiction film 12 Monkeys (1995), the latter earning him a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination.

Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt | Francois Duhamel/Sygma via Getty Images)

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By the 2000s, Pitt was starring as the male lead in blockbusters such as the heist film Ocean’s Eleven (2001), as well as its sequels, Troy (2004), and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005).

He also found himself in high-profile relationships during that time. After dating a string of famous women in the ’90s, Pitt married Friends star Jennifer Aniston in 2000. Five years later, the couple called it quits.

He then went on to have an 11-year romance with his Mr. & Mrs. Smith co-star, Angelina Jolie. The couple had six children together (three biological and three adopted) before trying the knot in 2014.

Sadly, their relationship didn’t last very long after that because, in September 2016, Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt, citing irreconcilable differences.